Snake (zodiac)

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The Snake () is the sixth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac and related to the Chinese calendar, as well as in related East asian zodiacal or calendrical systems. The Year of the Snake is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol .[1]

According to one legend, there is also a reason for the order of the 12 animals in the 12-year cycle. The story also goes that a race was held to cross a great river, and the order of the animals in the cycle was based upon their order in finishing the race. In this story, the Snake compensated for not being the best swimmer by hitching a hidden ride on the Horse's hoof, and when the Horse was just about to cross the finish line, jumping out, scaring the Horse, and thus edging it out for sixth place.

The same 12 animals are also used to symbolize the cycle of hours in the day, each being associated with a two-hour time period. The "hour" of the Snake is 9:00 to 11:00 a.m., the time when the Sun warms up the Earth, and Snakes are said to slither out of their caves and holes. The "month" of the Snake is 5 May to 5 June.

The reason the animal signs are also referred to as "zodiacal" is that one's personality is said to be influenced by the animal signs ruling the time of birth, together with elemental aspects of the animal signs within the sexagenary cycle. Similarly, the year governed by a particular animal sign is supposed to be characterized by it, with the effects particularly strong for people who were born in a year governed by the same animal sign.

In Chinese symbology, Snakes are regarded as intelligent, but with a tendency to be somewhat unscrupulous.[2]

Years and the Five Elements[edit]

People born within these date ranges can be said to have been born in the "Year of the Snake", while also bearing the following elemental sign:

Start date End date Heavenly branch
10 February 1929 29 January 1930 Earth Snake
27 January 1941 14 February 1942 Metal Snake
14 February 1953 2 February 1954 Water Snake
2 February 1965 20 January 1966 Wood Snake
18 February 1977 6 February 1978 Fire Snake
6 February 1989 26 January 1990 Earth Snake
24 January 2001 11 February 2002 Metal Snake
10 February 2013 30 January 2014 Water Snake
29 January 2025 16 February 2026 Wood Snake
15 February 2037 3 February 2038 Fire Snake

Note that in Japan, the new sign of the zodiac also starts on 1 January, while in China it also starts, according to the traditional Chinese calendar, at the new moon that falls between 21 January and 20 February, so that persons born in January or February may also have two different signs in the two countries.

Chinese zodiac Snake Compatibility Grid[edit]

Sign Best Match Average Match No Match
Snake Snake, Rooster, Ox Dragon, Monkey, Rat, Dog, Tiger, Horse, Rabbit, Goat Pig

Basic astrology elements[edit]

Earthly Branch of Birth Year: Si
The Five Elements: Fire
Yin Yang: Yin
Lunar Month: Fourth
Lucky Numbers: 2, 8; Avoid: 1, 6, 7
Lucky Flowers: orchid, cactus
Lucky Colors: red, yellow, black; Avoid: white, golden, brown[3]
Season: Summer
Closest Western Zodiac: Taurus


Depictions of zodiacal Snakes are also either solo or in group context with the other eleven zodiacal creatures shows how they have been imagined in the calendrical context.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Snake Horoscope Information Archived 2013-02-17 at Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  2. ^ Eberhard, sub "Snake (She)", p. 268.
  3. ^ "Chinese Zodiac - Snake". Your Chinese Astrology. Retrieved 14 March 2018.


  • Eberhard, Wolfram (2003 [1986 (German version 1983)]), A Dictionary of Chinese Symbols: Hidden Symbols in Chinese Life and Thought. London, New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-00228-1
  • Vietnam Veterans for Factual History. Indochina in the Year of the Snake, 1965. p. 288. ISBN 9781929932658.